Showing posts with label lies. Show all posts
Showing posts with label lies. Show all posts

Monday, January 18, 2021

Jokers



He’d been a popular comedian in his day,
But Alzheimer’s took all that away.
"Tell me if you’ve heard this one, he’d say."
I’d say I had, then he’d tell it anyway.

A news channel lied to people every day.
When their lies were exposed,
They’d tell them anyway.
With false boasts, these news hosts,
Viewers minds would sway.

When sued the channel fought hard
Not to pay.
They lost.
They paid and fresh lies put in play.

When awful lies are oft repeated,
Our country’s aims
Will be defeated.
Aging minds repeat old thoughts.
False ideologies cause social rot.


Fox Settled a Lawsuit Over Its Lies. But It Insisted on One Unusual Condition. Why did the network insist an agreement with the family of a murdered young man remain undisclosed until after the election? - Ben Smith, New York Times, January 17, 2021


Friday, January 15, 2021

True news is good news

 “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.” ― Karl Rove

Mainstream news sources and some politicians are calling it “the big lie.” By this they refer to a phrase that Adolf Hitler used in “Mein Kampf” to describe an untruth so enormous that no one would dare to question it. This time around, the lie under discussion is President Trump’s preemptive claim that if he lost the election, it would be due to voter fraud, and his follow-up claim that voter fraud cost him the election.

The mainstream news cites court rulings and election officials to defend its claim that the 2020 election was  fair. Those who claim it was stolen typically consider mainstream news to be fake. In some of their minds a cabal of leftist pedophiles has infiltrated powerful institutions and gained control. Less than five percent of men are estimated to be pedophiles. No matter how perverse lefties might be, it’s likely that fewer than one in 20 is a pedo. How did so few pedos manage to gain control of everything?

Regardless, both sides can’t be right. One side must be lying. The First Amendment, of course, guarantees Americans’ right to lie their asses off. Or does it? Actually, telling some types of lies can bring legal problems. But many other types of lies are legally bullet proof. Perhaps it’s time to change that up a bit.

Between the years 1949 and 1987, TV and radio stations were bound by the “Fairness Doctrine.” This policy required broadcasters to devote a portion of their programing to issues in the public interest. It also required them to air opposing views.

With no policy like the Fairness Doctrine to restrain them, some broadcasters now freely spew bullshit. With no rules at all, bullshit rules the internet. Take “likes.” When a user likes a  Facebook post, that signals Facebook to feed the user other posts offering the same viewpoint. Social scientists say many innate biases influence our behavior. One of these is called “confirmation bias.” This bias describes a human tendency to look for information that confirms what one already believes. Facebook willingly feeds us what we already believe. When we don't consider other viewpoints we cannot grow. 

When Russia tries to influence our votes and when its users make hateful statements, Facebook responds with too little too late and promises to do better next time. Suppose instead, Facebook stopped manipulating its feeds and provided its users a stream of mixed viewpoints? That might work somewhat like a Fairness Doctrine. This alone wouldn’t restore a common, more-or-less factual news narrative, but along with fresh, well-conceived laws, Americans might once again share the same reality.

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Divided by lies


Politicians lie. In that, they are all the same. They differ only in the outrageousness of their untruths. Some politicians lie unintentionally with issue summaries that exclude, misrepresent, or exaggerate information. In these cases, there remains at least a basis in facts. Other politicians lie intentionally. That’s a problem in a representative democracy, but merely a control method in an oligarchy.

 The Republican Convention this week has been a fibbers festival. You needn’t take my word for it however. News organizations including the New York Times, The Washington Post, and NPR are saying so. I don’t remember any news organization ever calling a president a liar before the current one took office. But there you go. It’s the new normal. Consider the words of U.S. Rep Matt Gaetz who said Democrats would try to, “disarm you, empty the prisons, lock you in your home, and invite MS-13 to live next door.” Gee, I don’t remember the last Democratic president doing those things.

 I want to focus on one Big Lie. Trump says he’s a “law and order” president, but that doesn’t mean what one might think. In this case, “law and order” is code for preserving a status quo that keeps a Jim Crow legacy alive. Protests against police victimizing and killing blacks have continued for several months. During daylight hours, these protests have been largely peaceful. During the nights, some of those in much smaller gatherings have acted criminally. These people are not necessarily the same ones who protest peacefully. The Washington Post reports that most of those responsible for deaths related to the protests have not been protesters themselves. Some were white members of the far right.

 Since the protests began, the president has lumped peaceful protesters with rioters, ignoring the fact that peaceful protest is a right, rather than a crime. This is dangerous. Once peaceful protest becomes identified with criminal behavior, Americans’ right to free speech will end. The cause is just. The protest is needed. Untruths have no place in democracies. 

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Bad Argument

 Some, while admitting that climate change is real, argue that it isn't a big deal, that human causation hasn't been proven, and that doing something about it would cause job losses and hurt the economy. Apparently these people don't read newspapers, or if they do, they read the ones that use very small words. Science has known about climate change and the human activity causing it for over 5o years. The science is entertainingly explained in under an hour in the Cosmos episode, The World Set Free

A July 8, 2015 Guardian headline  states, "Exxon knew of climate change in 1981, email says – but it funded deniers for 27 more years." Why do you suppose Exxon did that? Let me take a guess. Because it would cause job losses and hurt the economy. That's oil industry jobs and the oil industry economy. 

Keeping a secret for 27 years in order to protect your business model is shortsighted. It would have been more sensible to diversify and develop other energy sources. Had Exxon done that, today it would be an industry leader in renewable energy. But it chose to be dishonest and self-serving instead.

Many of the politicians who argue that climate change interventions will cost jobs and hurt the economy receive major funding from oil industry associates. But that, in itself, doesn't make the argument  a bad one. It's true that climate change interventions will cost jobs and effect the economy. The effects will be primarily in the energy sector, although not all of it. Those portions of the energy sector invested in renewable energy will instead create jobs and thrive.

The argument is deceptive because it doesn't take the entire economy into account. Climate change is already affecting the economy's agricultural sector. Droughts, floods and crop-killing heat waves are happening now and will become worse. Climate change will devastate jobs and economies far beyond what can be gained by protecting the status quo. It's time to cut the crap and act responsibly.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Michael Jackson Lives

--- Fresh intelligence from unnamed sources ---

It was a ruse. Michael lives. He and the King are both alive and well. Just like Elvis, Michael became tired of his fame and notoriety and faked his own death. The so-called “Michael,” was, in fact, an unnamed middle-aged, middle class, man of indeterminate race who succumbed to a Propofol allergy while undergoing routine vasectomy surgery. The corpse was smuggled to the Jackson residence by a covert team of underpaid Hollywood physicians. The real Jackson is purported to be vacationing on the planet, Tralfamadore. As they say on Tralfamadore, “So it goes.”

Monday, November 10, 2008

Get rich working part-time

According to today's article at Galleycat, there's big money to be made in blogging. Not. At least not for the bottom ninety-eight percent of bloggers. Apparently, if you're after the big money, your blog needs to score anywhere from 100,000 to millions of hits per month.

I'm rooting for ya. We're all in this together.